Pakistan’s polio campaign seems to be not working as there has been an alarming rise in the cases observed. Over the past month, a total of eight cases have now been reported in children. All of these cases are noted in the district of North Waziristan that borders Afghanistan.
After the seventh case of polio was observed just a week ago, the new case has caused an alarming situation in the country. The reason behind this new outbreak is the refusal of parents observed when it comes to vaccination. Another one is the false markings done by the polio workers.
With the increase in the spread, the government initiated a proper investigation by forming a team of officials.
North Waziristan, located in northwest Pakistan is a former Taliban-held area and the vaccine refusal rate is observed to be quite high. As of now, this is the major reason behind the increasing number of cases.
At Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Program, one of the officials added that “Fake markings and refusals are two key reasons in the recent outbreak, with polio staff conspiring with parents to miss the vaccination,” It was also said that “parents suspicious of immunization have got hold of special pens used by health workers to mark vaccinated children’s fingers.”
Well written @FyezahJehan & @KheezranA 👏— Kishwar Enam (@kishwarenam) June 9, 2022
“The last two countries facing the polio crisis are Pakistan and its neighbor Afghanistan. This is no surprise as geographically, North Waziristan shares an almost porous border with Afghanistan..” https://t.co/fMEAlErD7C
The national program coordinator Dr. Shahzad Baig said, “The cases are highlighting exactly where the challenges lie, and we are doing our utmost to ensure that the virus remains contained and we fight it till the end.”
Before this wave, the last case reported of polio was observed in January last year. Abdul Qadir Patel, the federal minister of health says that “Following the first two cases in April, the polio program took immediate steps to ring fence this area and prevent the virus from spreading further, particularly in the historic reservoirs [of infection] of Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.”
It is essential for each parent to get their child vaccinated as with each dose the immunity gets stronger.